When the judge orders a divorce, it is possible that he will order one of the spouses to make temporary alimony or alimony payments. Alimony is financial assistance provided from one spouse to the other after the end of the marriage, and it is separate from any payments made for child support due to the nature of the child custody agreement. Alimony is designed to preserve the economic situation of both parties as it existed during the marriage.

How Do You Qualify for Alimony?

Whether alimony is awarded to either spouse at the end of a divorce proceeding is decided by the judge according to what is fair under the circumstances. The judge will use a number of factors such as the couple’s standard of living while married, the length of the marriage, and the ability of each spouse to support themselves after the divorce.

How Much Alimony Can You Receive?

In calculating the total support award, there is no set formula or limit. Unless agreed to by the parties, the judge will decide how much alimony should be paid according to several factors including the length of the marriage, the ability of each party to pay, and the health and age of each spouse. The court will take some of the following factors into consideration:

  • Length of marriage;
  • Financial situation during marriage;
  • Age of the spouses;
  • Physical/mental health;
  • Reason for the divorce;
  • Standard of living during the marriage; and
  • Ability to pay for alimony

How Long Does Alimony Last?

Usually, alimony is awarded as either a lump sum or a temporary set of payments. In Maryland, there are three types of alimony you can receive:

  • Alimony pendente lite: alimony that is awarded for the time between filing for divorce and the finalization of the divorce.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: alimony that is time sensitive and can end after a set period of time; it is often awarded for situations like the spouse going back to school for two years.
  • Indefinite alimony: it has no specific end point and is not commonly awarded in Maryland. 

The court may award indefinite alimony payments if one spouse will not be able support themselves due to their age, illness, or disability. Even permanent alimony will end if either spouse dies, or if the spouse receiving payments remarries or enters a relationship that is the equivalent of marriage.

How Do You Petition for Alimony?

In Maryland, you must ask for alimony at the very beginning of the divorce proceeding in the Complaint for Absolute Divorce or the Counter-Complaint for Absolute Divorce if the other spouse initially filed the divorce packet. If you fail to request alimony before the divorce is finalized, then you have lost the opportunity to petition or alimony. In the request, you should also list why you qualify for alimony.

After a spouse asks the court for alimony, both spouses will be required to submit to the court a Financial Statement. This document must include a complete report of your financial situation including real estate, income statements, life insurance information, bank statements, household expenses, etc. It is important that the Financial Statement be complete and accurate and should be reviewed by an attorney.

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

Divorce actions tend to be some of the most contentious legal cases and alimony awards can be quite significant. It is important to have a skilled attorney to advocate for you in this process. If you are looking for an attorney to help you with your alimony related issues, then contact a local Maryland family lawyer today.